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Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

This past Thursday, 350 newspapers joined in an editorial writing campaign lamenting President Donald Trump’s attacks on the press. And because it’s a social media age, it came with a hashtag, #FreePress. These editorials and the hashtag are designed to make people aware of the vital role a free press is to maintaining a healthy democracy.

Or at least that’s what they say.

Freedom of the press is a hot-button issue, partially because of President Trump’s seemingly endless attacks on the press, and partially because the press has earned quite a bit of scorn in recent years. (I’m looking right at you, Jim Acosta and April Ryan.) Whether you consider reporters to be brave warriors against an oppressive government (which begs the question of why they’re allowed to report if the government is so oppressive) or stenographers for the Left, it’s a good time to discuss freedom of the press again.

freedom of the press

What the Left thinks it means – the freedom for the press to publish what it wants without government interference

What it really means – the freedom for the press to publish facts and let the people decide without government interference

The Left loves to conflate what they think freedom of the press is with what it really is because, to them, a free press should be unfettered by editorial, social, or political norms. And for a long time, it was. Where the two concepts part company is that the former doesn’t take said norms into consideration anymore when deciding whether to run with a story or sit on it for a while. Remember, some of the same people who decry Trump’s attacks on the press were pretty silent during the Clinton and Obama years in spite of the egregious acts those two Presidents took against the press.

Or was it that the press allowed themselves to ignore?

There’s the rub. (Settle down, Mr. Clinton.) The media have immense power to create a perception of reality simply by deciding what deserves our attention and how it’s presented. The free press are gatekeepers of information and can either promote or kill a story with a single editorial decision. Such power needs to be used judiciously and impartially as possible. Unfortunately, the free press has decided to abuse that power to cater to an ideologically-driven audience. And it worked for a long time.

Then, talk radio, Fox News, and the Internet came into being. Although they too fall into the same trap the press has, they provide an alternative view to what is being presented by other sources. You know, like the 350 newspapers parroting the same editorial about how freedom of the press is important? The Left has always seen talk radio, Fox News, and the Internet as one-offs that can be ignored/discarded/mocked, but they miss one important element: these sources are also branches of the free press tree. Just because they’re ideologically different from you doesn’t make them any less factual or balanced.

And speaking of balanced, who do you think is the most balanced news network in reporting on President Trump? That would be…Fox News, with a smaller difference between positive and negative coverage than the rest of the free press. MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times, and others have made it a personal vendetta to spew as much negative news about Trump as they can. Trump could walk on water and they would say it’s because he’s afraid to swim.

The #FreePress situation is a self-inflicted wound from people who keep turning the handle of the Gatling gun pointed at their feet in the hopes a bullet will ricochet and hit their target. Their main problem unless they change their tactics is they’ll either run out of bullets or run out of feet without even getting in a shot on their target. Say what you will about freedom of the press, but what we are seeing now from the press isn’t something that necessarily should be shrouded in the concept of a right. What the free press is doing currently is a disservice to the bedrock principles that made freedom of the press worth fighting for in the first place.

When I was just starting to learn about how to be a reporter, my journalism professor drove it into my head to leave my feelings out of what I saw and report on what happened using the best judgment available. The example he used was whether a newspaper would be okay to run the picture of a dead body next to a story about a gruesome murder. Would the picture be newsworthy? Absolutely. Should it be run? That’s a tough call. The editor making that decision would have to balance the benefits of running the photo against the negative implications that would arise from running it.

Today’s loudest defenders of freedom of the press have their thumbs on the scale of that decision, and it has created an environment where there are people who actually do want to limit the freedom of the press, including our President. And last time I checked, the President has access to nukes, so it might be a good idea to slow your roll a bit.

Having said that, freedom of the press isn’t under assault as much as those proclaiming it is are trying to make it out to be. Unless, of course, you consider being held to a level of accountability to be oppressive, which news flash…IT ISN’T! Journalism isn’t an occupation for the faint of heart, and those who take up that line of work deserve a level of respect until they try to take shortcuts, either out of laziness or out of allegiance to an ideology. And if it’s not one, it’s the other.

If the #FreePress crowd is really concerned about the negative image they’ve cultivated (admitted with President Trump’s help), they need to take a step back and do an honest accounting of what they’ve done and continue to do. Take the emotions and politics out of it and deal with the facts. If you can’t do that, you are part of the problem and you need to relearn Reporting 101. If you can and you feel you did nothing wrong, see the previous point. If you can and you can’t take pride in what you’ve done and do, then fix it and encourage others to do the same. To borrow a different hashtag with a similar sentiment, #WalkAway.

And to the reporters, editors, and media types jumping on the #FreePress bandwagon under the guise of protecting freedom of press, remember one thing. Freedom is a constant fight. You don’t get it by virtue of your occupation or ideology; you earn it by working to preserve it. A hashtag and a constant stream of negativity towards a President you don’t like in defiance of the truth, or conversely a constant stream of positivity towards a President you do like in defiance of the truth, doesn’t cut it. Earn the respect you seek.

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Update: CNN Still Hates the American People

This is an update to a blog post I wrote a couple of days ago where CNN and other media types filed a motion in the Paul Manafort trial to obtain the names and addresses of jurors along with other sealed information. On the plus side, the judge ruled against the motion, so I will cut him some slack. I still believe the motion shouldn’t have been entertained in the first place, but he still made the right decision.

But CNN? No slack given.

In fact, there’s an update on that front, too. Seems a CNN hack…I mean journalist has been the victim of doxxing, which is the unauthorized release of personal information with the intent to intimidate the victim. Remember, CNN is the network that doxxed a Trump supporter for sharing a GIF of Donald Trump clotheslining WWE President Vince McMahon with the CNN logo replacing McMahon’s head. Oh, and they doxxed another Trump supporter by sending a hack…I mean reporter and a camera crew.

Now, when it’s being done to a member of CNN, they now see it as wrong?

Sorry, kids, but you don’t get to play the victim card when you’ve victimized others merely for being of a different ideology. And when you compound that with the fact you are trying to get the contact information for jurors because you think you have a right to it in spite of the fact your history shows you’re as trustworthy as Al Sharpton’s spelling skills, you deserve no slack. On the other hand, you deserve every bit of criticism you get.

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Are We Sure CNN Isn’t the Enemy of the People?

A provocative, clickbait title from me? Yep! But unlike the other clickbaity things you’ll see on the Internet, this one actually has some meat to it.

CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz tweeted that the judge in the Paul Manafort trial will be hearing a motion by media types (lead by guess who) to allow the unsealing of the names and addresses of jurors, as well as other secret parts of the trial not yet unsealed. Let me put it another way. CNN (who really isn’t a party in the trial aside from reporting on it) filed a motion with a judge (who has the legal authority to make rulings on motions by parties involved in a trial) to reveal information about that trial, including identifying information of the jurors charged with giving a verdict on that trial.

Anyone else see a biiiiiiiiig problem with that?

Under the current legal set-up, jurors are allowed to speak to the press if they choose after a trial is over, which is fine. Often this provides valuable insight into the trial, such as why some people shouldn’t serve on juries. The important part of this is choice. Jurors aren’t required to speak or justify their decisions to anyone.

With one motion, CNN wants to strip away that choice under the auspices of a need to know. And the judge agreed, saying, “A thirsty press is essential in a free country.”

Good to know we have such thoughtful judges serving in our judicial system, huh? (By the way, that was sarcasm.)

This is bad precedent and even worse policy in today’s hyper-partisan environment. It wasn’t that long ago that a lunatic decided to shoot Steve Scalise over an ideological difference. Heather Heyer was run over and protesting while protesting against white supremacists in Charlottesville. And let’s not forget our good friends Antifa and BLM in this conversation. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, it’s becoming dangerous to have an opinion.

Good thing juries aren’t in the opinion business, right? Oh, wait!

Regardless of when CNN and the rest of the media get the jurors’ information, it will have a dangerous effect on jury trials going forward because it will be used by everyone from CNN to the Podunk Super Shopper to get information they have no legitimate claim to in the name of a story. That will put pressure on anyone called for jury duty to come to the “right” decision if only to preserve his or her security. Imagine serving on a jury where the facts state the defendant is guilty, but public opinion says he or she is innocent and the press will let people know who you are and where you live. The pressure would be unbearable and will lead to unjust decisions based on emotion, not on facts.

Granted, our judicial system makes bad decisions all the time, but that isn’t a justification for taking the step CNN took. There is no legitimate need for them to have juror information and other sealed documents from the trial.

But here’s the M. Night Shyamalan twist CNN and the media haven’t considered. If the judge rules in CNN’s favor, Paul Manafort’s legal team has solid grounds for a mistrial and/or an appeal. The judge has already shown an inability to be impartial by entertaining CNN’s motion and the pressure on the jurors to come up with a particular verdict to try to appease a partisan audience all but guarantees an unfair trial.

But, hey, who cares about the rule of law, amirite?

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Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

At the recent Netroots Nation event (basically, it’s Nerd Prom for Leftists who are actually nerds), California Senator Kamala Harris called out people critical of identity politics, saying it’s a term that “is used to divide, and it is used to distract. Its purpose is to minimize and marginalize issues that impact all of us. It is used to try to shut us up.”

For the first time in my life, I agree with Senator Harris. I’m guessing, though, not for the same reasons.

Identity politics has taken on a whole new meaning within Leftist circles, which isn’t all that surprising. The Left is comprised of a loose network of like-minded individuals working together to achieve their goals while at the same time jockeying for position like roller derby competitors so their goals are the ones that get the most attention. In other words, it’s like Jim Acosta, Jesse Jackson, and Chuck Schumer fighting over a live microphone.

And with that, we delve into this week’s Leftist Lexicon entry!

identity politics

What the Left thinks it means – issues that affect all Americans in one way or another because they affect the least powerful among us

What it really means – the politics of labels and division

To most people, I’m an average (albeit devilishly handsome) guy. To those who practice identity politics, I’m a litany of adjectives that would choke most bad writers. Since I’m heterosexual male, I’m cis-gendered who identifies as male. I’m lower middle class, so I’m a member of the working class or the underprivileged. I lean libertarian on most items, so I’m alt-right/fascist/Trumplican/white supremacist/mouth-breathing moron/the God of Hellfire and I bring you…

You get the picture. For every personal aspect, identity politics has a label for you, even if you don’t want or need it. But that’s the thing: the Left needs it to simplify its thinking. If they can figure out what you are (or what they think you are), they can identify what boxes you can check off in their Great Victimhood Lottery. Then, they can appeal to you on a personal level. You know, just like a cult leader.

And if you happen to be a contrarian like your humble reporter, those labels can be used to dismiss your opinions as wrong-think. If you support the Second Amendment, you’re a “gun nut” or an “ammosexual.” Listen to Rush Limbaugh? You’re a “right wing nut job” or a “mindless sheep.” And so on. Once Leftists identify you as a non-preferable identity based on your labels, they can and will dismiss you on any and all subjects. You could be a highly-accredited peer-reviewed published climate scientist who read a little Ayn Rand in college, but to the Left you’re scum.

Isn’t that lovely? The party of tolerance, ladies and gentlemen.

Although identity politics makes things easier to understand, it leaves out a lot of what the Left loves to call nuance. Everybody is unique, which makes it hard to put them in boxes without creating a big mess. Just because someone fits a certain arbitrary category doesn’t mean he or she is a perfect candidate for it, nor does it mean he or she will voluntarily conform to the expectations of said category. Why, it’s almost as if people are…diverse! If only there were an ideology that proclaims to be all about diversity…oh, wait, there is!

Unfortunately, the diversity the Left practices is of the superficial variety. The color of your skin, your sexual orientation, your religious background (save for Christians), and other factors are what they look for instead of ideological, intellectual, or even socio-economic factors.

And that’s where identity politics falls apart. Once you boil someone down to what he or she looks like, you miss out on the true beauty he/she brings to the table. Assuming an albino pan-sexual lesbian crossdressing midget who likes clog dancing will automatically be a Leftist removes what makes said person unique and limits what Leftists know about him or her. To use a concept Leftists love to use against others, they are removing people’s agency (and that is another blog post altogether).

Instead of looking at people as what makes them different from each other, why don’t we look at what unites us? We are all human beings with all the positives and negatives that come with being human. Anything beyond that is minutia. And this is one reason why #WalkAway has become so popular. People are tired of being stripped down to labels and being told those labels define what we must believe. The beauty of humans is that we aren’t limited by what we’re born with or as. The only limitations are the ones we impose on ourselves.

And really that’s the heart of identity politics: imposing limits on everyone in the hopes we will agree with said limits. That creates an implied need for help, and the Left is all too happy to oblige. The problem is their “help” never actually…you know…helps. It’s designed to keep people dependent upon the Left for every need, including self-esteem and personal identity. That’s slavery on a whole different level, kids.

So, Senator Harris was right. Identity politics has become a pejorative, but it’s not because of the critics. It’s because identity politics sucks.

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I’m Not Alex Jones, But I Stayed at a Holiday Inn Express Last Night

Over the past 48 hours, Alex Jones has been “memory-holed” by most of the Internet for what has been called hateful and dangerous speech. Instead of listing all the social media sites that no longer carry Jones or Infowars, it might be easier to count the social media sites that do. And so far…it looks like it’s just Twitter.

Jones has taken his situation in stride, meaning he’s trying to figure out how to blame it on fluoride making frogs gay or something. One of the things his supporters and he have said is the removal of Jones from social media is a violation of free speech. It’s even inspired a hashtag, #WeAreAlexJones.

Although recent events are more disturbing than a Jeffrey Dahmer cookbook, it’s not really a free speech issue. The First Amendment starts with five words that often get overlooked in discussions like this: “Congress shall make no law”. As hard as it is to accept, social media sites have the authority to decide who gets to use their service and can punish people who don’t abide by the rules they set. Congress didn’t pass a law, so the First Amendment doesn’t play a role here. (Oddly enough, the same argument can be used against the ACLU when they try to ban school prayer, but that’s a blog post for another time.)

That’s not to say Jones and his followers have no legal recourse. It can be argued those social media sites are not applying their rules fairly, which opens the door for Jones and company to argue they are victims of disparate treatment. Although this concept is usually reserved for the workplace, the fact Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and Louis Farrakhan among other groups that have shown as much if not more hate have yet to see even an iota of the punishment Jones has experienced in the past two days means there is evidence of the rules not being enforced evenly.

It may be a long shot, but it’s a stronger argument than the free speech argument is.

There may be others (after all, I’m a blogger, not a lawyer), but we should avoid invoking the First Amendment when defending Alex Jones and Infowars. But there are two things that I do know. First, this is a great opportunity for social media sites looking to attract users to make a splash and get people away from the big ones. And second, Alex Jones, as bat-crap cray-cray as he may be, can and will be turned into a martyr for those who already don’t like existing social media sites. That is a really dumb idea because it creates a situation where people who wouldn’t give Jones the time of day can defend him against what is a gross overreaction to someone who is at best a minor problem…and be absolutely right to do so.

Is Alex Jones being made into a free speech hero worth looking like hypocritical partisan asshats? Social media may need to answer that question sooner rather than later.

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Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

It’s been a bad stretch for CNN over the past couple of years. Once they were the beacon of news reporting, able to get the hottest stories before anyone else and bring it to their audience with solid facts and analysis. Today they are getting beaten in the ratings by The Food Network. How did CNN go from the #1 news source in the world to making The Weekly Reader look like they have gravitas by comparison?

Do what Leftists do: blame Donald Trump.

Although Trump’s use of “fake news” to describe CNN has a lot to do with it, there are several other factors that play just as important a role. I hope you brought your hazmat suits because this one’s gonna be toxic!

CNN

What the Left thinks it means – a news network targeted by conservatives and Trump supporters for telling the truth about Donald Trump

What it really means – a news network that has lost its way in the pursuit of being liked by Leftists

Although CNN has been around for a couple of decades, people really took notice of it during the first Gulf War in the early 1990s. They had reporters on the ground (including one Wolf Blitzer whom we’ll be talking about here in a bit) giving up-to-date reports on the fighting in Kuwait and how our military forces fared against Iraq’s military. That impressed a lot of viewers, myself included, and it made me proud to be learning the journalism trade at the time.

Shortly after the Gulf War ended, CNN went back to reporting the news, and giving airtime to a certain Democrat President who wowed audiences, ate Big Macs while being seen jogging almost every day, and seemed to echo what the media wanted to hear. Yes, CNN had a serious man-crush on Bill Clinton, and that crush grew into another arm of the White House Press Office. Slick Willie could do no wrong in their eyes.

After Clinton left office, CNN remembered “Hey, aren’t we supposed to be watchdogs against the government?” and went back to reporting hard news. When Barack Obama was elected, those watchdogs went back to being lapdogs and had a new man-crush to impress. Now, we’re back to CNN being watchdogs, albeit deaf, dumb, and blind ones. Although I do hear they sure play a mean pinball.

Today’s CNN bears little resemblance to the CNN of the early 1990s. Here are a few of the current “stars” on CNN.

Wolf Blitzer – a reporter who cut his teeth in Iraq, but got stomped like a new kid in a rough school during an episode of Celebrity Jeopardy where the questions were dumbed down

Jim Acosta – a Sam Donaldson clone washed in hot water, always shouts questions at the President even when told not to, gets threatened by people chanting “CNN sucks” and flipping him the bird

Brian Stelter – host of a program “Reliable Sources” but gets so many facts wrong people are thinking his show is ironically named

April Ryan – a White House correspondent whose questions rival those of Jim Acosta at asking ideological “gotcha” questions based more on fee-fees than facts

Chris Cillizza – a political editor who is concerned about the incivility against the media in this country while unwittingly contributing to it

And there are many, many more. Right now the only passible journalist at CNN is Jake Tapper, and he’s 50-50 at best. Still he has a higher batting average than the bulk of CNN reporters and newsreaders.

Put simply, if CNN were a theatrical production, it would definitely be a Greek tragedy because they keep harming themselves unintentionally while in the pursuit of looking like they’re on top of their reporting game. And they have their enablers…I mean fans who will defend them against any insults slung their way by Trump supporters and other people who don’t think CNN’s doing a good job.

Guess which group I’m in.

And before the Left goes to their default excuse, my disdain for CNN has nothing to do with Trump. It does, however, have everything to do with what I consider to be professional malpractice. I studied journalism in college, so I know how the way reporters are supposed to do their jobs. What we’re seeing out of CNN in 2018 is The Resistance with press passes. Oh, they’ll claim to be doing their jobs and wrap themselves in the First Amendment, but they don’t realize when people tell them CNN sucks or flips them the bird, those people are exercising their First Amendment rights. The same Amendment that gives CNN the right to report on the news of the day gives people the right to react to that reporting, or in many cases the lack thereof.

Just look at how Jim Acosta and his cohorts have reacted to a recent Trump rally in Florida where people were very expressive with their disdain for CNN. They and many others painted those Trump supporters as a hate mob fueled by the President saying CNN was the enemy of the people. Well, here’s a thought: maybe you’ve earned that designation by playing favorites instead of playing fair. There are limits to this, though. The minute you physically attack a CNN reporter, you have taken this disdain too far. Flipping the bird to Jim Acosta isn’t nice, but it’s not violence, nor does it provoke violence (except possibly for the target).

Let me give CNN a piece of free advice. Get back into the reporting business. It’s Journalism 101: the reporter should never be the story. Remember Dan Rather? Although he’s a darling of the Left now, he let himself become the story when he tried to make George W. Bush look like a draft dodger who went AWOL. The problem? The facts didn’t match up with the reporting and Rather had to resign and be forever tainted as a liar. Apparently, lying about a Republican is a resume enhancer to the Left.

Instead of learning from Rather’s mistake, CNN is doubling down and making themselves look foolish in the process. (Which I’m perfectly fine with, by the way.) But if CNN wants to be taken seriously as a news network in the future, it needs to dump the Rather reporting method and go back to what got them to being a respected news organization in the first place.

If not, expect reruns of infomercials to beat CNN in the ratings.

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Book ‘Em Danno

Forbes recently ran an opinion piece by an economist who said we no longer needed public libraries because people have Amazon and Netflix. Considering my wife is a public library director, you can guess I thought he was…how can I put this…out of his pea-pickin’ mind! So many people disagreed with the notion that the piece was eventually taken down, but not before the writer’s popularity went down faster than the Titanic.

As utterly disturbing as this economist’s views were, some of the comments in opposition to them were equally disturbing because the commenters decided to inject politics into the discussion. And guess who they blamed for this economist’s views. Donald Trump. After all, Trump is the source of all evil in the universe (after beating out the Loknar in the Intergalactic Electoral College vote), so why wouldn’t he be to blame for people thinking public libraries are worthless?

Well, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say it’s because…Trump has nothing to do with that point of view. It’s a stretch, I know, but it’s one I’m willing to make.

The problem with discussions like whether public libraries still have worth in a society where our phones we carry around can look up anything under the sun is that it far too often becomes muddled in tangential ideological muck that takes our focus off the issue. I’m not a Trump fan, but even on my worst days, I wouldn’t dream of blaming him for said days. Ditto when Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and so on were President. (Although I suspect Jimmy Carter may have had a hand in me losing my lunch money on a class field trip to the zoo back in 1978, but I don’t have any concrete proof…yet.) In short, if you’re using this or any other issue that has nothing to do with politics as a soap box to make a political statement, just don’t! Not everything is political, and not everyone has to be on ideological point all the time.

As far as the economist’s viewpoint on public libraries, he’s off the mark by…let’s just say a lot. Amazon and Netflix are great, but they both require a little something the kids like to call the Internet. And as technologically saturated as we are, there are people across the country who do not have reliable Internet service. And, no, this is not a plea for there to be universal Internet access. But there is one place in just about every community that has Internet access: the public library.

Aside from using the Internet, public libraries provide other services ranging from photocopying to access to books and movies to educational programs for young and old alike, and that’s only scratching the proverbial surface! Public libraries provide much more than the tax dollars necessary to keep their doors open and their lights on. They provide a means to expand our minds, open our hearts, and maybe just escape our normal lives for just a bit. Put another way that is sci-fi related (since I’m a sci-fi geek from way back), your public library is a TARDIS that can take you anywhere and anywhen you want to go.

I know “anywhen” isn’t a word, but work with me people, okay?

Call me old fashioned (or just old, for that matter), but I always get a thrill when I walk into a library and just browse the aisles for old favorites and potential new favorites. And it’s for that reason I will always be an ardent champion for public libraries.

That, and the fact my wife knows where I live.

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Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

If you’ve been watching the Left lately, you’ve probably noticed they’ve been trying to make socialism sexy again. If you haven’t, consider yourselves lucky because…well, they’re trying to make socialism sexy again. What started with the Bern Outs in 2016 has been reborn in 2018 thanks to new Leftist “it girl” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beating out a Democrat stalwart in a House race in New York. Granted, both Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are couching their pro-socialism talk by supporting what they call “democratic socialism”, but it’s still socialism.

As a result, Leftists are putting a new coat of paint on an old ideology in the hopes of attracting new people to their cause. In the meantime, let’s traipse into the world of socialism.

socialism

What the Left thinks it means – a social system where everyone pitches in to help each other

What it really means – a socioeconomic system where everyone is encouraged to be mediocre

One of the Left’s primary talking points when talking about socialism is to try to separate the social element of it from the economic element. For that, they bring up communism as the economic side of socialism, which is of course complete bunk. Socialism and communism are ideological cousins of the kissing variety, if you know what I mean. They really can’t be separated effectively because they have the same basic tenets: government control of all aspects of an economy and its societal counterpart. There are slight differences, I grant you, but those difference revolve around how much force is used to attain the equality they both claim to want to achieve. Socialists tend to rely on a call to community unity, while communists rely on a call to arms. Put another way, socialism is communism on pot, and communism is socialism on PCP.

Even so, socialism is attractive to people because it seems so friendly. Bernie Sanders wasn’t on the stump telling people to tear down the ruling class. He looked too much like your grandpa or crazy uncle you occasionally see at family reunions. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t look like a female Che Guevara; she looks like someone you might have gone to school with or saw in a coffee shop. Even some of our best-known celebrities say socialism is okay, and we can trust celebrities, right?

That’s one of the great historical ironies about socialism. It’s an idea that curries favor with the wealthy, but it’s rarely acted upon by those same people. Socialism is easy if you never intend to be held to its standards, but for those who went along with it and weren’t rich enough to live behind the gilded gates of private communities, it sucks.

And that’s a dirty little secret behind socialism: there is a class structure within it that negates what it stands for. The former Soviet Union is a prime example of this. (And before any Leftists say the Soviets weren’t real socialists, see my earlier comparison of communism and socialism.) Although the average Russian communist was living hand to mouth, government officials had far more luxuries (and, oddly enough, freedoms) than their proletariat brethren. Socialism runs on the same principles as communism and the results are the same. There will always be the haves and have-nots, thus making socialism as realistic as James Comey’s excuses for why he didn’t prosecute Hillary Clinton.

Leftists pushing socialism like to point at Europe and some of our own government programs as proof socialism isn’t scary. Why, we could just look to the Swedish model of socialism and use that (at least according to Bern Outs). The problem? Sweden isn’t really socialist. They are capitalist economically and statist socially, meaning…they’re ultimately capitalist because they have to be. Money doesn’t come out of thin air, and in Sweden it comes from…wait for it…high taxes. The minute the haves decide to move away to a country that doesn’t tax them for being rich, there is no backup plan and their socialism-lite goes the way of Crystal Pepsi and New Coke. For socialism to truly exist, there has to be an income source that can be drawn upon. In other words, socialism doesn’t work unless there is wealth to be distributed.

Then again, socialism doesn’t work, period. But we’ll get to that later.

But what about our government programs, like Medicare and Medicaid? Surely they are examples of socialism working, right? Annnnnnnd no. These programs aren’t actually socialist either because they take mainly from the working class instead of the rich and give to the non-working class and poor. In short, if you put in any significant amount of time at a job, you’re a have. Doesn’t matter if you make the poor on Skid Row look like Bill Gates. You are a source of income to socialists because you have what others don’t.

Really makes you wonder why anyone would back socialism, doesn’t it?

And here’s the kicker. There can never be true socialism because humans aren’t uniform and many have  a desire to excel. Granted, some people want to be good at Xbox, but it’s still a desire that cannot be taken away. When you have that, you will always have people who are better than average and others who are worse than average. Try building a society based around equality when you can’t even find two people who are equal across the board and share the same interests at the same level. You’ll have better luck finding a Kardashian with actual marketable skills.

The way socialism deals with the problem is to treat everyone as though they were exactly the same. It works great if you suck at your job because you get paid as much as the ones who are doing just enough to get by. On the other hand, it sucks if you’re great at your job because you have no incentive to do more than you have to since you’re getting paid the same. That tends to make everyone mediocre at best. It also tends to stop innovation because you aren’t rewarded for it. Capitalism isn’t perfect, but you’re more likely to get rewarded for hard work and being good at a job than you are under socialism.

So, why is socialism so popular today? That’s a good question. I think it’s due to a combination of factors from a lack of historical and economic knowledge to trying to protect kids from experiencing failure by celebrating even minimal effort to making the marginally passable into the excellence of today. (I’m looking at you, Starbucks. Five bucks for coffee made from beans more burnt than my skin after falling asleep on the sun?) At the core of it all, however, is the elevation of laziness as a virtue and the downgrading of excellence to a vice.

No matter whether it’s someone who looks like your grandpa or your college roommate telling you socialism is the wave of the future, remember we’ve tried socialism before in America. It’s called the Mayflower Compact, and it didn’t work out so well for the Pilgrims. And if it didn’t work when there were far fewer people in the country, there’s no way it works with today’s America.

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Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

Recently, President Donald “Sick of Winning Yet?” Trump met privately with Russian President Vladimir “No Beans for Me Because I’m” Putin in Helsinki. And as expected, the Left reacted like they usually do on a day ending in Y: they lost their collectivist minds. After decades of telling us we should be more like Russia, the Left pulled a 180 and said Russia was our enemy. (Couldn’t have something to do with the fact Russia may have had a hand in exposing the DNC as a corrupt bunch of morons, could it? Naaaaaaaah!) And because Trump met with Putin in private, there is a new word that has formed on Leftists’ lips: treason.

Seven little letters, one big accusation.

Although I’ve covered this topic before, in light of the current Leftist freakout du jour, let’s take another look at treason to see what all the fuss is about.

treason

What the Left thinks it means – helping an enemy to undermine America at any time

What it really means – a highly-charged term that is being waaaaaaaaay overused right now

Since we’re dealing with a political/legal term, let’s take a look at what the US Code says about treason. Title 18 of the Code states the following:

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

Death or imprisonment and fines? There go my summer vacation plans…

Seriously, the US Code opens up a lot of questions pertinent to the current discussion of whether Trump’s meeting with Putin rises to the level of treason. The first question is what constitutes an enemy of the United States. Well, that’s open for debate. For example, I would consider Michael Bay to be an enemy of the United States because he doesn’t know how to make a good movie. Furthermore, anyone who keeps going to his movies are giving him aid and comfort by encouraging him to make more Transformers movies. Others (presumably Mr. Bay himself included) would disagree.

In the current scenario, the Left wants us to see Russia as an enemy, which would support their claim Trump committed treason. The reality, however, is a bit more complicated. Russia isn’t quite our enemy. They do things that make it look and sound that way, but they are still considered to be somewhat friendly towards us. And make no mistake, I trust Putin slightly more than a used car salesman at Uncle Sleazy’s Auto Emporium (where their motto is “205 Fraud Convictions Don’t Stop Us From Making Great Deals”). My personal misgivings aside, Russia and the US have maintained a tolerable relationship. To call Russia an enemy is like calling Bill Nye the Science Guy a source for accurate information on climate change: it might be right, but not often enough.

Leftists also point to Trump’s frequent criticisms of our intelligence agencies as proof of his treason, but even that’s a stretch thanks to a little thing the kids like to call the First Amendment. Although Trump’s mistrust of intelligence (both literal and governmental) can be harsh and undeserved at times, he has a right to speak his mind and to redress grievances with the government. And that includes the intelligence community. For the Left to be right…err correct on this, they would have to say the President exercising his First Amendment rights is tantamount to treason.

Let that sink in for a moment. Then get a really stiff drink to steel yourself for the next sentence.

This is what the Left is going for in lieu of a message for the midterms.

Even though Trump’s not running, the Left is using the “Treason Summit” as a means to hold Republican candidates accountable for what the Left says Trump did. Granted, the Right does this, too, but it’s stupid no matter who does it. And with the charge itself being more tenuous than the plot of a murder mystery written by Joe Biden, it makes the Left look unhinged. That may be what the cool kids are doing, but outside the DNC bubble, it doesn’t play well to test audiences. That’s why #WalkAway is a thing now.

Pushing the treason argument is a calculated move, but one that reeks of desperation. As much as the Left keeps talking about a “Blue Wave” in November, the current environment isn’t conducive to a wave, blue or otherwise. The DNC is losing donors, money, and long-time candidates at an alarming rate, so they need something to fire up their base to try to stop the bleeding. And apparently their solution involves accusing Trump of treason because…well, they’re still working on a reason that sounds better than “because we want him removed from office for beating Hillary Clinton.”

Ah, but there’s the problem. If you allow yourself to get caught up in the emotion without taking a moment to ask whether a private meeting between two world leaders constitutes treason, you’re going to get really disappointed when people outside of your circles aren’t willing to join you in your quest. Face it, kids. Crying “treason” right now isn’t going to help you win back the House and Senate, and it may wind up hurting you in 2020, which is going to be the next time you will have a chance to beat President Trump. Impeachment has gone nowhere. The Mueller investigation has gone nowhere. And treason will go nowhere, and for the same reason as impeachment and “Mueller Time”: a lack of discernable evidence that can’t be reasoned away.

In the meantime, let’s grab some popcorn and a cold drink and watch the fireworks!

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Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

Even before most of America knew Brett Kavanaugh’s name, Leftists were more scared than a Frenchman at a World War II reenactment that the new Supreme Court Justice would overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that made it legal for women to get abortions. Whether it was talking about a “woman’s right to choose” or “healthcare for women”, the Left has it bad for protecting the Roe decision under any and all circumstances.

Including making themselves look like jackasses in the process.

I try not to delve too much into these serious issues much for two reasons. One, I will invariably evoke an emotional response out of a reader which tends to devolve into an online shouting match and open questioning of my lineage. And before we get there, my mother was not a female dog, so you can just drop it. The other reason is because trying to find a lighter touch on a hot-button issue like Roe v. Wade is like asking Lindsey Lohan to babysit while you’re off on a two month European vacation; it might be okay, but more than likely it’s going to wind up badly.

So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at Roe v. Wade.

Roe v. Wade

What the Left thinks it means – A Supreme Court decision that is essential for women’s autonomy, healthcare, and self-worth

What it really means – Bad law based on lies

Hopefully, I wasn’t too subtle with my opinion on the subject matter. I occasionally get accused of being obtuse.

In my younger days, I was pro choice for the same reason Bill Clinton is: to score with the ladies. Unlike Bill, however, it didn’t equate into so much as a second glance from women. On the other hand, I didn’t get impeached for using an immature intern as a personal humidor, so I got that going for me.

As I got older, I decided to do some research on the matter and read some of the legal arguments made in the Roe decision because I know how to party! Anyway, the gist of the arguments in favor of allowing a woman to have an abortion came down to an interpretation of when life began. The lawyers arguing in favor of abortion said British common law made it clear a baby could be terminated within the womb because it wasn’t recognized as a true human being.

Yeah, about that…seems British common law says nothing of the sort. In fact, there is a concept known as the “quickening” referring to a human’s life or spirit. To put it simply, our British ancestors believed a child in the womb had quickening and, thus, was a life. Kind of a problem for the pro choicers who say it’s just a “clump of cells”, wouldn’t you say?

Beyond that, the Supreme Court turned abortion into a federal issue because it broadened the Constitution to include a right that wasn’t really in there: the right to privacy. The arguments made to invent this right were based off the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which has nothing to do with privacy at all. Here’s what it says:

No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

In other words…no state can make a law that doesn’t apply to everyone…which still has nothing to do with privacy.

For all of the legal, Constitutional, and emotional arguments in favor of keeping Roe v. Wade as is, there is one hard fact that the Left doesn’t want us to consider: abortion kills a baby almost every single time. It’s not a clump of cells. It’s not an unviable tissue mass. It’s not a part of a woman’s body. It is a baby. Full stop. With all of the blatant dishonesty and excuses, it’s hard to imagine how much fear the prospect of a child being allowed to come to term puts in the Left.

That’s because the Left makes serious bank off keeping Roe v. Wade in place. Any time a politician suggests even a slight restriction on abortion, the Left whips its supporters into a frenzy and asks them for money. The supporters send money (and dress up like giant vaginas for some reason) to Leftist politicians who will defend the right to kill babies in the womb. Then, sometimes these politicians get into positions where they can allocate federal tax dollars to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood (not directly of course because it would be illegal) who then pays executives with said funds who then turn around and donate money back to the politicians who got them the tax dollars to begin with. No matter how much the Left tries to launder the funds they use for abortion clinics, it is literally blood money.

As much as I disdain abortion as a practice, Roe v. Wade will remain unaffected at least for now. Even with Brett Kavanaugh’s potential appointment to the Supreme Court, it would still take a legal challenge to Roe before any judge, let alone a Supreme Court Justice, would get a chance to render a verdict. But the Left still needs to keep that sweet abortion cash flowing into its coffers (especially considering the DNC makes Arthur Andersen look fiscally responsible). That means maintaining the lies they’ve told since the original court case was settled.

But now that you know some of the ins and outs of the lies, you can be ready to address the lies when they’re told.

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